Syria launched a series of airstrikes targeting a stronghold of the Islamic State extremist group on Saturday, killing at least 29 people, most of whom died when one of the missiles slammed into a crowded bakery, activists said. The eight airstrikes smashed parts of buildings, set cars alight and crushed people under rubble in the northeastern city of Raqqa, which is ruled by the extremist group, according to video of the aftermath uploaded to social media networks.
At least 16 civilians were killed, alongside nine Islamic State fighters, said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Most of the civilians were killed after at least one strike hit a bakery on a busy street, and the death toll was likely to rise, said the Observatory, which obtains its information from a network of activists on the ground. The airstrikes were also reported by an activist who uses the name Abu Ibrahim and is a member of a media collective called “Raqqa is being silently slaughtered.” He fled Syria fearing for his safety and asked that his current place of residence remain anonymous.
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